RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1860. Irritability of Drosera. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 38 (22 September): 853.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2005, textual corrections by Sue Asscher 1.2007. RN3


[page] 853

Irritability of Drosera.— In Lindley's Vegetable Kingdom (p. 433)1 it is stated that the leaves of Drosera lunata "close upon flies and other insects that happen to alight upon them." Can you refer me to any published account of the movement of the viscid hairs or leaves of this Indian Drosera? C. R. Darwin, Down, Sept. 15. [Dr. Royle is the authority for the statement in question. In his Illustrations of Himalayan Botany there is the following passage:—"D. lunata occurs in the mountains from Silhet to the Sutlej. This I have found in the small valleys enclosed within the different lateral projections of the Mussooree range, where the ground is rather flat, and the soil moist. In such situations it springs up and flowers in considerable quantities, but only during the rainy season, when the thermometer has a range of not more than 10°, between 60° and 70°, and the hygrometer always indicates a degree of moisture approaching that of saturation. This species, which in my MSS. Catalogue I had named D. muscipula, from the glandular cilias of its viscous leaves closing upon flies and other insects which happen to light upon them, is remarkable, as in this respect resembling Dionæa muscipula, which is placed in the same natural family."]2

1 Lindley 1846. For more detail on this letter see Correspondence vol. 8, p. 357. The common name of Drosera is sundew.

2 Royle 1839, 1: 75.


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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

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